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Nearly a year and a half ago we looked at this pair of Parisian palace hotels and said they were deep into their beauty sleeps: Hotel de Crillon had just about a year behind it, while Hotel Ritz was hammering away at renovating rooms and public spaces for fifteen months already. While there is progress to report, both hotels are still far off from waking up.
We’ll flip the order this time and make a stop on Place de la Concorde first, where today you will see a temporary façade larger than the Crillon itself hiding the construction quarters that have been erected (a better view of how that works below). Forget also that 2015 opening; it’ll be nearer the end of next year, if not 2017, before Rosewood will have its third European hotel.
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Many have spent the night with old lady Waldorf, but few have owned her – until now. Because the new owners of the Waldorf Astoria New York, Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group, which finally sealed the deal last month, have announced that they’ll be converting some of the rooms into condos.
The rooms in question are in the Waldorf Towers, which currently operate as a hotel-within-a-hotel on the 27th-42nd floors of the building, with suites and apartments accessed via a separate entrance. (They’re “somewhat nicer” than the notoriously in-need-of-help rooms in the main building, according to our secret correspondent.) According to Wu Xiaohui, the company chairman, the plan is “to renovate the two towers into luxury residential apartments with world-class amenities and finishes to reflect its culture and social status.”
In her capacity as Miss Dior, Natalie Portman is (unknowingly we assume) helping Hôtel Lutetia Paris hide during its three-year closure / renovation - and full hiding mode it is for the hotel on Boulevard Raspail in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, with half of the 1910 Art Nouveau façade covered by Miss Portman in part, and half by a giant external structure of construction quarters (below).
With final guests having checked out last April, and all contents of the hotel having gone on the auction block in May, the hotel is only ten months into that three-year overhaul, so don’t expect much before 2017 here. That sounds light years away, but with The Peninsula making its splash last summer (more on that soon), The Ritz Paris hopefully coming back by the end of this year, and Hotel de Crillon then picking 2016 for its return, that makes for a nice pace in Parisian Palace debuts, don’t you think?
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Last time we checked in on Four Seasons Dublin, it was getting ready to wind down with another “five-star brand” ready to take over.
We guessed Intercontinental – and lo, it has come to pass! It switched hands officially on 1 January.
We’ll start with the good news first: of the twelve hotel employees that were injured after the gas blast at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, only one remains hospitalized, with non-life threatening injuries. Having walked by the hotel, we can also confirm that statements about part of the building having “collapsed” seem exaggerated: as you can see in the photos further below, the building is intact, and only at the rear of the building does there seem to be any damage.
Unfortunately, the official statement on the hotel website, and the notices we saw, do say that the hotel is “currently closed for the foreseeable future”.
Throwback Monday to… a time when Aleppo was a popular tourist destination.
The Baron Hotel was one of the finest hotels in Syria when it opened in 1911. Charles de Gaulle stayed here. So did Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in room 203. “Hotel Baron, the only first-class hotel in Aleppo” says a poster from the 1930s strung up in reception. It’s the oldest hotel in Syria.
Or, rather, it was until last week, when its owner revealed he’s closed it.
“It's been nearly four years since the war began and I see nothing that inspires any optimism in me, quite the contrary,” Armen Mazloumian told AP. “Honestly, the hotel will never go back to how it was.”
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If you’re looking to capture the last moments of Four Seasons Hotels before they close, your itinerary is no longer limited to Hawaii’s Lana’i this year (one of the two hotels there, The Lodge at Koele, will shut early January for most of the year, as part of Larry Ellison’s plans for the island).
You’ll be heading to the Irish capital Dublin and Jakarta, Indonesia, too – quite the reach for a three-country jaunt, isn’t it? In Ireland, the goodbyes are forever, with the announcement that the group will cease management of Four Seasons Dublin on December 31 this year. Luxury hotels in Dublin have had a tough run since the 2008 crisis, with probably some of the lowest rates we’ve seen of any European Four Seasons, often hovering around the €200 ($250) mark, if not just below, at the hotel. The Irish Times reports that the hotel was sold in 2011 for €15 million, believed to be a quarter of what it cost to develop the hotel in 2001. Another “five-star international brand” will be taking over, so we’ll have to wait and see which one that is – perhaps InterContinental?
In two days time, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether it wants to become an independent state or remain part of the United Kingdom. Politicians and business people are tussling over what would be better for the country.
In the meantime, Scotland’s most expensive hotel ever – the first to charge £1000 a night – has quietly closed its doors.
The Atholl, in the West End of the city, opened in 2012 after a £5m conversion project. And now, according to owner Alison Davies (and the Daily Mail), it’s closed for good. No more Hermes wallpaper, no more Albert Roux restaurant, no more “award-winning garden”. The hotel will be converted into apartments.
We highlighted both the rooms at Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem and St. Regis San Clemente Palace Venice recently as examples of luxury hotels that failed to inspire with their design. The Waldorf landed on a palette of browns that escapes us and the St. Regis didn’t look like we’d expect it after a €25 million do-over.
Turns out we weren’t wrong to be disappointed: while the Venetian island resort has joined Starwood under the St. Regis brand earlier this year, the closure period that will see those €25 million making a splash starts this October and lasts until spring 2015.
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August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
Almost two years after Sydney's iconic Observatory Hotel changed owners to become The Langham Sydney, the property will close its door to undergo a massive renovation to make the space a lot more, well, Langham.
The first day of renovations is scheduled for July 24. Over the next four months, all 96 guest rooms, the lobby, dining areas and the residential-style ballroom will see a bit more than a few new coats of paint. Spending around $30 million AUD, the hotel will install a new design element, to bring it more in-line with their other properties around the globe.
Each of the rooms will trade their stuffy, dated interior for a more modern, white-washed decor with herringbone hardwood-floors, modern furnishings and gold and teal accents marrying high-end luxe with colonial charm. Being one of the only hotels in Sydney to offer balconies in each room, guests will be able to enjoy the near perfect Sydney weather from the comfort of their own room.
Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills Tower may have only just opened, Andaz hotel and all, but one of the classic hotels nearby is planning its own future skyscraper already: the Hotel Okura Tokyo – famous for its 1960s time capsule lobby – will close next year August for four years of redevelopment.
Come February 2019, a brand new two-tower complex should be finished, which will increase room count from just over 400 to 550, adding office space in the process. Design will maintain “traditional Japanese aesthetics” while bringing in all the latest technological equipment – and looking at some of the room photos on the hotel’s website, they look like they could use some work. Half of the hotel’s grounds will be turned into a green “metropolitan oasis”.